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Nova Scotians Wonder About Hurricane Help

October 1, 2003

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) _ Weary Nova Scotians wondered Tuesday where power crews and hundreds of promised military personnel were as they tried to clean up from Hurricane Juan’s destructive wake.

Residents emerged from their homes expecting to see soldiers and sailors clearing the tree-littered streets, but found little other than the ragged branches and rubble created by Monday morning’s ferocious storm.

``Today we’re forgotten,″ Patti Kydd said as she surveyed her clogged street. ``I haven’t seen one person here, so who knows what their priorities are.″

Hurricane Juan lashed Nova Scotia with 86 mph winds Sunday, ripping off roofs, uprooting trees, knocking out power and killing at least three people before weakening and eventually dissipating at sea.

Two days after the storm, 150,000 people still were without electricity.

Residents bristled at news that power might not be completely restored until Saturday at the earliest. Nova Scotia Power officials conceded Tuesday that the task of clearing roadways is too daunting, leading to speculation it could take days before crews can get to the hundreds of downed power lines.

Chris Huskilson, spokesman for the power utility, said crews restored electricity to critical buildings, such as hospitals, and were now moving to the city’s main arteries.

Some of those areas could have power by Thursday night, he said.

``There are still large trees on the streets and until those are out of there, we can’t get power back,″ Huskilson said, urging residents to avoid wires that could become live at any moment.

``It will be through the weekend that we are dealing with this.″

Hundreds of sailors and soldiers from Halifax and New Brunswick were ready to begin cleaning up, but were still waiting for directions from power crews.

Much of the heavy lifting was expected to begin Wednesday with the arrivals of more than 1,000 city, power and military officials.

``Our resources are outpacing our ability to get organized,″ said Mike Lebrecque of the Halifax Regional Municipality. ``There’s a limited amount of work we can do ahead of NS Power.″

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